After Bryce, the next place we planned to visit was Antelope Canyon. It takes about an hour long drive from Kanab to reach Antelope. Located in the east of Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon consists of two distinct slot canyons, Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. Maintained by Navajo Nations, Antelope Canyon was formed by the wear of Navajo sandstone caused by rainwater and flash floods whipping through the rock.
Our decision to visit Antelope Canyon was influenced by the beautiful pictures of the canyon we viewed on Facebook. The pictures were so attractive that I had great expectation out of the trip. However, when I visited the place in real, I was not satisfied with what I witnessed and experienced. I don't know about others, but I found Antelope a bit overrated. It is beautiful no doubt, but does not come anywhere near in comparison to the attractiveness of Bryce or Zion National Park. Notwithstanding, it is the costliest of the three national parks. Both Bryce and Zion have entry fee of $30 per vehicle that remains valid for 7 days. In comparison, visiting upper Antelope costs $48 each and lower antelope costs $28 each and the ticket remains valid for only one ride. We were informed that Upper Antelope is more beautiful and involves less of a precipitous hike than that of Lower Antelope and hence, we decided to visit Upper Antelope. We paid $116 in total for two adults and one toddler, plus $20 as tips to the guide who took us to the tour. Our enthusiasm of visiting the canyon was dashed the very moment we reached the ticket counter of the canyon. Backpacks were not allowed inside the canyon and considering we have a two year old toddler accompanying us and the trip was supposed to be one and half hours in length, I had to take a backpack with food, milk and water bottle for my child. After much pleading, we were given the permission to carry the backpack, but were repeatedly told that we needed to carry it in our hands and not on our back. Tripod was also not allowed inside the canyon unless one shells out $80 extra. However, all these were okay had we gained an out of the ordinary experience in the canyon, but I received very little in terms of experience from this overpriced trip.
|Upper Antelope Canyon|
Just as we reached the upper Antelope canyon, the tour guide before taking us inside the canyon started admonishing us as if we were school children in need of discipline. We were a total of 12 people in the van that took us to the canyon. The first thing the tour guide said to us before taking us inside the canyon was to set our cameras in particular modes to capture the best of pictures. The tour guide didn’t say a word about how the Antelope canyon was created or the history of flash flooding in Antelope canyon where flash floods claimed the lives of 11 tourists in 1997. The only thing the tour guide said to us about the canyon was that the canyon belongs to the federal government and that the canyon was originally owned by her grandmother and that’s all about it. There were five more tour guides shepherding a horde of tourists inside the canyon and I saw all of them keeping the tourists busy in taking pictures as if taking pictures is the whole purpose of the trip. If one wants to enjoy the beauty of the canyon simply by looking at it for long, one will not be able to do it because of the rush of taking pictures. Either the tour guide of the next group will hurry you up or the tour guide appointed to you will threaten to send you back to the van if you don’t quicken your pace. Even the photographers who paid extra to carry their tripod and camera accessories inside were not able to take picture peacefully because of the commotion. Also, though the trip was supposed to be one and half hours long, it was wrapped up within one hour.
Since at the Upper Antelope we heard from another tourist that tickets were no longer being sold at the Lower Antelope for the day, we decided to visit the nearby attractions for sightseeing and thank God we took that decision. First we went to Carl Hayden Visitor Center to collect a map on the nearby attractions. The map clearly provided directions for the main points of attractions nearby around Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam on Colorado River. Glen Canyon Dam is one of the largest dams in the USA. The construction of the Glen Canyon dam started in 1956 and it took 17 long years for the reservoir named Lake Powell to get completely filled. Before the construction project of the dam began, the site was inaccessible to public. The construction of the dam faced controversies as the environmentalists considered the action of building dam in the canyon an act of tampering with nature. However, because of the dam, the town of Page, which receives its electricity and water from the dam, flourished.
The Carl Hayden Visitor Center offers boat trips to the dam, but since only one boat leaves in an hour and we reached the visitor center at 2.35 p.m. and the next tour was scheduled to start from 3.30 p.m., we didn’t want to waste time waiting. So we went to the White House Overlook to view the Glen Canyon Dam.
White House Overlook on the rim of the Glen Canyon involves a hike down a set of stairs carved into rock. The entire hike from going down to coming up will take about 25 minutes in total. With the sun blazing mercilessly above and the harsh dry climate of Utah draining moisture continuously from the body, the 25 minutes long hike seemed tiring. I would advise to carry water bottles inside a backpack whenever you go on a hike, no matter how short the hike is, in Utah. The white house overlook gives a distant glimpse of the Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River.
The next point for us to visit was the Horseshoe Bend. Located within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the Horseshoe Bend is only within 5 miles driving distance from the Glen Canyon Dam. In order to reach the overlook to see the Horseshoe Bend, one needs to hike about 1.5 miles along a steep sandy trail. The hike to the Horseshoe Bend was the most strenuous of all the hikes we did during our trip, partly because there was not a single tree in sight to create shades under which one can rest for a while. There was a small shaded rest area created in the middle of the hike, but both the times while hiking up and down the trail, I saw the rest area overcrowded and so I couldn't rest to catch my breath. Secondly, pushing the stroller up the sandy trail was impossible and so we had to carry our son in arms all the way up and down, which added much to the physical exertion.
One piece of advice I would like to reiterate again is that while hiking in Utah, please carry sufficient quantity of water bottles as the scorching heat and dryness of the weather leave one completely dehydrated. I have heard that many people while hiking along the trail to Horseshoe Bend fell sick due to the heat. Also, people with children must be careful of the edge of the overlook as there is no railing. A fall from the overlook will be fatal. If you can endure the painstaking hike, the view awaiting is quite rewarding. Though many travelers on Trip Advisor have claimed the Horseshoe Bend to be overrated and the painful hike not worth the view, I found the view pretty stunning.
By the time, we completed viewing the Horseshoe Bend and came up to the parking lot, we were thoroughly exhausted for the day. There were two other beautiful attractions that we wanted to pay a visit to, Big Water and Rainbow Bridge, but the downside of traveling in Utah is the sun beats down on you ruthlessly and tires you out. Both these attractions involve hiking and we were completely drained of energy, so we quit the plan to visit those places. There is always a next time. So, we took the route to scenic drive around Glen Canyon and came across these scenic views.
Our trip for the day came to an end here and we started towards Kanab where we stayed for two days and nights, because Kanab is close to all the national parks we planned to visit; Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park.